Probiotics are bacteria naturally found in your body, especially in your digestive system. Do you need them? Yes.
Your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are the “good” bacteria. The root of the word probiotic comes from the Greek word pro, meaning “promoting,” and biotic, meaning “life. So these good bacteria help your body to get rid of the bad bacteria and promote your health. In a healthy person, there can be around ten trillion healthy, living probiotic bacteria.
But you can also find probiotics in some foods and supplements. Many people now include these as part of their health regime. Check out the following infographic for more about probiotics and the benefits they can provide.
Do I need to take probiotics?
The idea that we should add probiotics to our diet is generally attributed to Nobel recipient Élie Metchnikoff, who postulated that yogurt-consuming Bulgarian peasants lived longer lives because of this custom. He suggested in 1907 that “the dependence of the intestinal microbes on the food makes it possible to adopt measures to modify the flora in our bodies and to replace the harmful microbes by useful microbes”.
The amount of bacteria contained in foods is relatively small, but probably sufficient to maintain a healthy person’s good bacteria. However, if our biome has been disturbed by illness, taking antibiotics, stress or other conditions that significantly reduce the number of good bacteria, it may be necessary to take a probiotic supplement.
Commonly claimed benefits of probiotics include:
- Aiding in the production of nutrients and vitamins;
- Aiding in the detoxification of harmful compounds;
- Strengthening of the immune system;
- Protecting the body from harmful microorganisms and antibiotic resistant bacteria
- Reduction of gastrointestinal discomfort;
- Reduction of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS);
- Reduction of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Reduction of infectious diarrhea (caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites)
- The improvement of the skin’s function;
- The improvement of bowel regularity;
- Reduction of flatulence and bloating;
- Maintaining of individual intestinal microbiota in subjects receiving antibiotic treatment.
So if you feel your body needs help with any of the above, consider taking a probiotic supplement.